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[Page 114]

Yehiel Tcherkis, z”l

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

bri114.jpg
Yehiel Tcherkis

 

Yehiel Tcherkis held a special place among the Zionist activists in our town. He always fulfilled his Zionist duties with modesty, trustworthiness and endless devotion. More than once he neglected his business, matters concerning his store, and went to collect monies for the Keren Kayemet, Keren HaYesod, for HeHalutz and for the New Talmud Torah.

He was one of the first who gave their children a Hebrew-Zionist education, and indeed he was privileged to see his two sons and daughter among the good activists among the youth in Tze'irei-Zion [Zionist Youth]. One of his children, Shalom Tcherkis, was even deported by the Soviets for the “crime” of Zionism.

Thus, Yehiel Tcherkis was blessed with superior spiritual virtues and was known for his integrity and endless devotion. He never pushed himself forward, didn't demand special treatment nor sought honor; he personified the saying, “He who runs away from honor – honor chases him.” Despite his modesty, he was always given a place of honor at the Zionist conferences, and during his last years was appointed head of the Committee of Keren Kayemet in our town. Due to his virtues there were many who respected and admired him.

He passed away in 1934.

 


[Page 115]

Shalom and Keila Kilimnik, z”l

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Shalom Kilimnik

 

Shalom Kilimnik, whose profession was a watch-maker, was among the Zionist activists in town, especially in the Committee of Keren Hayesod where he held the position of permanent treasurer.

His wife Keila excelled in public activities and her great devotion to the Old-Age Home lasted for many years. Much of her activity was also in support of the New Talmud Torah where she established a Women's Committee and headed it with great spirit.

Both of them perished in Transnistria.

May their memory be a blessing

 


[Page 115]

Ben-Zion (Benny) Melechsohn

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Ben-Zion (Benny) Melechsohn

 

Benny's father, Shalom… was a storekeeper, a Hasid and a learned man. Benny was familiar with the Hebrew writings both ancient and modern. Zionism

[Page 116]

ran deep in his veins. He began his Zionist activities in the first Hatehiya association and continued later in Tze'irei Zion. He was not pretentious and did not try to stand out, he performed the routine Zionist activities out of love — love of the people of Israel and the Land of Israel.

He spoke little and was moderate in all ways, yet was enthusiastic in public Zionist activities, which became part and parcel of his being. He also was involved in philanthropic work and helped existing charitable institutions or initiated one-time charitable projects for currents needs. He would say, “Helping others is also considered Zionism.” Benny took part in the founding of a local group for self-training since he had a great ambition to move to Eretz Yisrael. He was prevented from doing so due to heart disease that he suffered from while still young.

Even when he moved to Lipkani he had a important position and was one of the best Zionist and public activists.

He perished in Transnistria during the Holocaust.

 


[Page 116]

Benyamin Bichutz

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

bri116.jpg
Benyamin Bichutz

 

Benyamin also was one of the best Zionists in our town. Work and economic problems didn't stop him from devoting time to Zionist activities and various public needs. He was especially devoted to Jewish and Hebrew educational matters and was among those who supported the founding of the local Hebrew school. When the new Talmud Torah was established he was one of its trustees and among the finest of its activists. He didn't look for honor and never pushed himself forward.

[Page 117]

He was somewhat rough and inflexible with others since he didn't really know how to speak gently and spoke the hard truth to all when he saw the need. However he was upright, always ready to help others and devoted with his heart and soul to his friends and acquaintances.

He passed away on November 7, 1938 (Tisha B'Av, 5698)

May his soul be bound in the bonds of life.

 


[Page 117]

Mordechai Schneider, z”l

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Mordechai Schneider

 

Mordechai Schneider left us at a young age, however, his short life was a long series of Zionist initiatives and activities.

The beginning was in the Zionist association, Ivria. He joined Zionist Youth when it was founded and in a short time became one of its best and most active members. He was devoted to working for the funds – Keren Kayemet and Keren HaYesod. It should especially be noted that he worked tirelessly during the time of the stream of refugees from the Ukraine. He initiated the first fundraiser and opened a free kitchen for meals for the refugees even before the Committee for Ukrainian Refugees was organized. He had an important position on the Committee and encouraged others to be active in order to make life somewhat easier during their stay in our town. His ambition to go to Eretz Yisrael was very great, however, a fatal illness felled him. His active life full of work for the community was cut off in the middle when he was only 27 years of age.

 


[Page 118]

Yosef Feldsher, z”l

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Yosef Feldsher

 

Yosef Feldsher's first steps in Zionist were in the association, the first Hatehia, and later he was one of the heads of Tze'irei Zion (Zionist Youth) in our town. He was the son of a hatter, Shmuel Feldsher, and his assistant. In his youth he was immersed in reading Yiddish literature. He was by nature hesitant and could not easily decide on his path and thus joined Hatehia with some doubts. However, when he did decide he worked hard for the movement and devoted his heart and soul to it with no hesitation and without compromise. He was able to demand responsibility and devotion from others and even more so from himself. He didn't always agree with the opinions of his friends and knew how to defend his views forcefully, sometimes even with bitterness, yet he always accepted the authority of the majority and helped out on activities that he didn't agree with.

He was one of the doers and activists, very active in cultural events of the Tze'irei Zion, the Zionist Alliance and the group of Hovevei Teatron (Theatre Enthusiasts) yet continued his Zionist activities. Zionism, in his view, was the most important thing and all his life he aspired to make Aliya and to realize personal fulfillment. He was among the founders and a member of the local group for Hachshara (training). In 1925 he came to Eretz Yisrael and started a farm in the moshava (farming community) Hadar in the Sharon. Although he experienced very difficult years, the pains of adjustment and absorption didn't deter him – he remained loyal to his path until the end of his days.

He died on Yom Kippur, 1947.

 


[Page 118]

Peretz Grinberg, z”l

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

Peretz Grinberg, a student from Kamintz-Podolsk, was among the stream of Ukrainian refugees who came to our town.

[Page 119]

The very next day after his arrival – before he had settled down in this new place – he came to Tze'irei Zion (Zionist Youth) with his friend Haim Roz and announced, “We are your friends and we are at your service!” Within a few days he had mingled and joined in becoming one of us in all things and it wasn't at all noticeable that he had just arrived. Immediately he became immersed in Zionist activities and work for the refugees. Although he was short and not strong, he was full of energy and never tired; he initiated many activities and worked diligently to see them through. He was a worker and encouraged others to work, lively and made others lively, he was a quick thinker and quick worker, and in addition he was happy, cheerful and sociable.

He became so drained and worn out from all his activities that his close friends became worried about his health and tried to convince him to stop working for a while. But he wouldn't listen – he wasn't able to listen! – to their to their advice and continued with his activities. He lived among us for one year before he became ill, supposedly not seriously, but he couldn't recover. After a few days he passed away.

May his soul be bound in the bundle of life.

 


[Page 119]

Shabtai (Sioma) Bookshpon z”l

by Michael Amitz-Tcherkis

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Shabtai (Sioma) Bookshpon

 

He was the son of Tcharna and Nisan Bookshpon (Stanover). As a child he studied in a Heder and with private teachers, and later in the Gymnasia (secondary school) of Roza Solomonovna. We became friends there and spent together an important period in our lives. By nature he was introverted and at first he was solitary and removed

[Page 120]

from the others, but after a time he moved closer to his classmates, was devoted to them and really couldn't live without them. He excelled in his studies and had a special interest in these subjects: history, geography, science and mathematics.

When the Maccabi association was formed he was one of its first members and stood out as the goalie in the soccer games. Due to his talent, the association's team won many victories. When this association stopped its activities he joined Hatehia where he immediately excelled as one of the best counselors. His friends viewed him as a walking encyclopedia and his lectures on the history of Israel and Zionist issues fascinated his friends.

When he completed his studies in the Gymnasia he went to Belgium to study engineering but quickly left in order to prepare himself to go to Eretz Yisrael. He went to France to learn practical agriculture; unfortunately he became ill and his lungs were damaged. Despite this he didn't give up and came to Eretz Yisrael. Here he worked as a clerk, at first in a travel agency and later as the Secretary of Kfar Bilu and in Beit Yosef, which is in the Beit She'an Valley. His health weakened and he was hospitalized in the hospital for lung disease in Zefat. He stayed there until his death.

He passed away in Zefat on 28 Iyar, 5706 – 28-5-1946 – and was buried in the section called Midrasha.

May his soul be bound up in the bundle of life.

 


[Page 120]

Ephraim Tchak

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Ephraim Tchak

 

Among those who stood out in the field of Jewish education in our town, Ephraim Tchak held a very honorable place that lasted decades when he taught Torah in his private Heder. His Heder had a mixture of old and new. He taught Bible in the old manner yet taught Hebrew according to the natural system – “Hebrew in Hebrew.” But the most important thing prevailed there. In this Heder the spirit of national Zionism was felt. Ephraim Tchak was able to instill in his pupils loyalty to the Hebrew language and literature and to make them fond of the Jewish holidays and Hebrew songs.

[Page 121]

His pupils, who were mainly from poorer families, children of small storekeepers and craftsmen, absorbed a great love of Eretz Yisrael and Jewish values, and many of them joined Zionist youth groups and later joined HeHalutz (the Pioneer) and came to Israel.

 


[Page 121]

Baruch Yakir

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Baruch Yakir

 

He was a Torah scholar and learned person, expert in the Talmud and Jewish law decisions (Poskim) and also in modern Hebrew literature — mainly that of the Haskala period. He himself wrote poetry in the spirit of the Haskala and rhymed riddles – mainly dealing with language and Bible.

He arrived in our town with his family during World War I as refugees but he settled here and remained until the end of his life. At first he worked as a private tutor and when the New Talmud Torah opened he took a position teaching Jewish studies until the school closed. He was a very diligent and devoted teacher and taught many pupils Hebrew and literature many of whom admired him.

His sons and daughter live in Israel.

 


[Page 122]

Fania Horesh, z”l

by M. A.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Fania Horesh

 

Fania z”l, the wife of S. Horesh - the Chairman of the Association of ex-Briceni Residents in Israel, helped out with the activities of the association although she wasn't from our town.

Not only did she open her home to most of the committee meetings with hospitality and charm, she also encouraged our activities and helped make them successful. Especially, she expended much effort in organizing the parties held. She ran to the homes of her many friends to gather items for the raffle and also sold tickets; with these efforts she helped the financial and organizational successes.

She was very attuned to the needs of any of our members. She encouraged the members of the Committee to give aid and support to the needy, and to give loans. She gave medical help and distributed packages of clothes and food, and didn't rest until the needy were cared for. It should be mentioned that on the very last day of her life she traveled to Ayn Shemer in order to deliver a check to a woman whose loan had been approved but hadn't received the check.

Without flowery words or self promotion she did what she felt she had to do with all her heart and soul.

May her soul be bound up in the bundle of life.

 


[Page 124]

Moshe Tsam z”l

by Y. E.

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

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Moshe Tsam

 

Moshe Tsam's name is worthy of remembrance among those who worked for the public welfare.

He was a shoemaker and a simple person, liked to take a drink, had a warm Jewish heart and was always ready to help the needy. He helped the associations and committees: the Committee for the Ukrainian Refugees, the Old Age home, or any ad hoc committee set up to distribute eggs and potatoes to the poor before Pesach. He didn't voice his opinion during discussions nor take part in debates but took upon himself the hard work. When he was asked to help out – and often without being asked – he left his work for hours or days and devoted his time with enthusiasm – all done in good spirit and willingness.

He had no children, thus his deeds will be his memory.

 


[Page 124]

R' Shneur-Zalman Shneurson
Rebbe Zelmele

by Shmuel Horesh

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

 

Fifty-one years ago a Zaddik (holy man) lived in our town named R' Schneur-Zalman Shneurson. He was called just R' Zelmele. Then I was still very young but I remember him well, also because my great grandfather Haim-Leib Horesh, my grandfather Pessah and my father Henech z”l used to talk about him.

[Page 125]

 

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The gravestone of Rebbe Zemele in the Briceni cemetery.
On the left is the gravestone of Haim-Leib Stahlir (Horesh)

 

R' Zelmele would sit all day and learn Torah in the old synagogue – in later years when he became weak, he would sit in the Galanskere synagogue. Every Sabbath he learned the weekly Torah reading (Parsha) with the unlearned people and also a little from the book Ayn Yaakov. Sometimes when he had time he would also teach a chapter from Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers). Many people would gather to hear him, and they either sat or stood by his table and drank in his words.

My grandfather Haim-Leib z”l was one of his greatest admirers and he really took care of the Rebbe's needs. His needs were small and my grandfather would go to town every Thursday and collect money, which he gave to the Rebbe for his necessities. Later on, when the Rebbe's wife passed away, my grandfather took upon himself to serve R' Zemele. He would arrange the small synagogue, and prepare his food and bed.

[Page 126]

My grandfather would take him every day to the synagogue and later take him home. In short, he took care of every little thing.

The Rebbe passed away around 1910. During the funeral all the stores were closed and almost the whole community came to pay their last respects. My grandfather, Haim-Leib, took care of finding a burial plot, built a room over the grave and made all the arrangements. Therefore, when he died at the old age of 92, he was privileged to be buried next to the Rebbe (in 1912). In later years, my father Henekh Horesh, took care of the room and the grave until June 1940 when he passed away.

After this, I and others, asked in the Briceni cemetery and we were told that R' Zemele's gravestone was ruined by one of Briceni's non-Jews. I put up a new gravestone and thus did I fulfill an, almost, family obligation.

May his soul be bound up in the bundle of life.

 

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